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After being fined, religious official claims that Israel is attempting to close Al-Aqsa Mosque to worshipers, Coronavirus is just excuse

Headline: “The occupation imposed a monetary fine on the Jerusalem Waqf director on the pretext that he allowed prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque”

“The Israeli occupation police yesterday evening [March 21, 2020] broke into the home of Jerusalem [Islamic] Waqf Council Chairman Abdul Azim Salhab and gave him a fine of 5,000 [Israeli] shekels,because he did not prevent worshippers from participating in Friday prayers two days ago.Salhab said: ‘The occupation police broke into my home andgave me a fine for not closing the Al-Aqsa Mosque to worshippers,and therefore I must pay 5,000 shekels.’ He added: ‘The goal of these fines and steps is to close the Al-Aqsa Mosque to worshippers. The mosque is our mosque. We pray at the plazas, and we have instructions for worshippers from the Al-Aqsa Mosque administration on how to pray and how to leave the mosque.’ He explained: ‘The Israeli occupation government is implementing a double standard, because it is allowing settlers to break into the Al-Aqsa Mosque each day, but preventing [Muslim] worshippers from entering the mosque, and giving them fineson the pretext of preventing the spread of the Coronavirus (sic., Israeli restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people apply to Jews as well as Muslims). Our position in the Waqf is that we oppose closing the mosque. It will remain open to worshippers, so that they will pray in the optimal manner that protects their health and welfare.’”

At the same time the PA Ministry of Religious Affairs had published instructions to Palestinians to pray at home and not come to the mosques.

Break-in/Invasion/attack of Al-Aqsa Mosque - The PA and its leaders misrepresent all of the Temple Mount as an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore, they vilify any presence of Jews on the mount as an "invasion." It should be noted that Jews who visit the Temple Mount only enter some sections of the open areas, and do not enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Israeli police ban Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount because of threats of violence by Palestinians.

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